Dogs can become crippled by accidents, hip dysplasia, ruptured discs, spinal problems, degenerative diseases or other causes. Whether the condition is temporary or permanent, a dog wheelchair can allow a handicapped pet to move around and stay as healthy as possible. Making your own doggy wheelchair is generally much cheaper than buying one. It requires careful measuring, and components that are readily available in hardware stores. It will improve the quality of life for your canine companion, and in most cases you will be able to take him for walks again.
Take measurements of your dog from point of shoulder to rear, and across the widest part of his body. Write these down to work out the dimensions of your doggy wheelchair.
Build a frame using PVC for small to medium dogs and metal for larger dogs. The frame should have two poles that are horizontal to the ground and are at the height of the dog's shoulders. These attach to a bar behind the dog that is two to three inches wider than the dog. The horizontal poles should run from the point of the shoulder and have enough clearance behind the dog so that the bar does not touch his rump or interfere with movement.
Attach wheels to the frame using a right angle frame brace positioned at the hip. Dogs up to 65 lbs need wheels from 8 to 12 inches in diameter. Larger dogs need larger wheels. If you plan to take your dog over rough terrain, then get wide tires and thornproof inner tubes.
Make a webbing harness to support the thigh/crotch area and attach this firmly to the frame. Keep it tight to prevent chafing. Buy or make a webbing harness that goes around the dog's chest and over the top of his body. You need to attach this to the poles at his shoulders so that he is attached to the wheelchair cart and can pull and turn it.
If your dog has not been out for a while, he will be nervous when going over different terrains. Lead him gently forward and encourage him until he gets the feel of the wheelchair.
Check the dog regularly for signs of discomfort or chafing, and adjust the harness and wheelchair if needed.
Let the dog get used to the harness before attaching to the wheelchair. Be calm and reassuring when attaching the wheelchair for the first time. If the dog becomes scared, disconnect and try again later.
Items You Will Need
- Measuring tape
- PVC or metal framing
- Cutting tools
- 2 wheels
- Nuts and bolts
- Webbing harness
- Strong webbing
- Clips to join harness to frame
- Dewey’s Wheelchairs For Dogs
- DogKarts: Dog Wheelchairs for Your Handicapped Dog or Pet
- Instructables: Dachshund Wheelchair
- Handicapped Pets: Dog Wheelchairs
- Handicapped Pets: Dog Wheelchairs, Products, Services and Support for Handicapped Pets
- University of Louisville: Bioengineer Designs Improved Dog Wheelchair
- Sad dog image by Maresol from Fotolia.com